Christ’s Crucifixion, Our Deliverance
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.(Galatians 1:3-5)
As we reflect on the pivotal events of Easter week, we tend to move quickly to Resurrection Sunday. Indeed, the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves God’s victory over death. Yet by itself the resurrection is not the gospel because it didn’t take care of our problem with sin. His crucifixion did. Consider carefully what these verses teach us about the cross of Jesus Christ.*
1. Jesus gave himself. He was willing to go to the cross. It was his voluntary self-sacrifice. At the moment of his death, we read that Jesus yielded up his spirit (Matt. 27:50).
2. Jesus gave himself for our sins. That shows the purpose of the cross. He became our substitute at the judgment seat, paying by his death the eternal penalty we deserved. There can be no forgiveness from God without satisfying his perfect justice. The cross accomplished that.
3. Jesus’ death deliver(ed) us from this present evil age. This shows the effect of the cross. Wickedness, corruption, and death dominate this present age, before Christ’s return in glory. His death rescues us, emancipates us from slavery and bondage. He frees us and empowers us to serve him now.
4. Jesus died according to the will of our God and Father. This shows the origin of the cross. It was no tragic accident of history, but at the very heart of the Triune God’s plan to save desperate sinners. He was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God… (Acts 2:23).
What great hope you have if you have placed your full trust in this Savior! Let’s rejoice and be overwhelmed by this saving work of the Triune God to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Blessings to you this Easter Season!
* This summary is adapted from Philip Graham Ryken, Galatians (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing), 2005. Many churches still read these verses as a “salutation” at the beginning of every worship service.